New 'leisure lounge' caters to students
Henderson students will soon have a central location to relax and experience the latest in technology and electronic entertainment.
Foster Hall was recently converted into Henderson’s technology center, and the first floor has been converted into a “leisure lounge” where students can bring their laptop computers and connect to the Internet, or use one of 20 desktop computers that will be available. A variety of tablet computers, including iPads and Android-based devices, will be available for use in the lounge. Four study/entertainment rooms include new 55-inch flatscreen televisions with wi-fi capabilities, allowing students to stream Netflix movies and other programming. Or they can reserve X-Box or Playstation 3 game consoles and connect them to the TVs.
“The lounge is a place for students to come, take it easy and enjoy themselves,” said David Epperhart, director of computer services. “And it will also give students a place to go and experience the latest in technology.”
The university’s Help Desk is also located on the first floor and will be staffed 24-hours-a-day, providing around-the-clock supervision. Technicians will be available to help students who may experience problems connecting their computers or devices to the wireless network.
The lounge can accommodate about 60 students. The desktop computers will be attached to “smart desks,” which include built-in monitors that can be folded down to provide a flat desk if needed. The desks, which are triangular-shaped, can be combined into a wide range of configurations for collaboration between students. Other furniture includes leather lounge chairs with small fold-out desks to accommodate laptop computers.
Epperhart said a variety of vending machines will provide snacks and drinks. A coffee and hot chocolate dispenser is also planned. He said the lounge will offer an atmosphere unlike any other on campus. “We’re hoping this will be a showcase when it’s done,” he said. The lounge is expected to open during the first week of September.
Security will be stressed with surveillance cameras, electronic entry and other measures to provide a safe environment and prevent thefts. Student ID cards will be required to use the facility. Jacob Mills, director of training and the Help Desk, will manage the lounge.
While the first floor of the building is dedicated to the students, the second and third floors of Foster provide offices for the computer services department, along with a conference room, training room, tech room for computer repairs and various storage spaces. The university’s network servers have also been relocated to Foster Hall, and a new generator powered by natural gas has been installed. Epperhart said the generator will keep Internet and other network services operating during power outages.
Other improvements at Foster Hall include new windows and a new cooling system. The project, along with the renovation of Womack Hall, was made possible by $2,900,000 in Recovery and Reinvestment Funds.